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Poll highlights problem of discrimination at work

Two-thirds of people in pain have experienced discrimination at work, the findings of an online poll conducted by Pain Concern suggest.

One hundred and six people participated in the survey on Pain Concern’s HealthUnlocked forum, with 70 answering ‘Yes’ to the question: ‘Do you feel you have had any discriminatory experiences at work due to your disability/pain condition(s)? Please feel free to describe below.’

The discussion highlighted multiple examples of unlawful discriminatory practices. One respondent was told at a job interview that ‘we don’t employ people with arthritis’, while another was laid off after 27 years of service for non-attendance even though they were on statutory sick leave. The latter person successfully appealed and was awarded early retirement on health grounds.

The discussion also raised issues of employers not taking into account the stress of juggling work and pain management, lack of understanding of their ‘invisible’ condition and verbal abuse and harassment.

Amid the disappointing picture painted by the poll were some bright spots. An NHS employee was able to have her workday restructured to provide more variety and avoid lengthy periods of sitting down. Another reported that their employer made physical adjustments, including an ergonomic chair and a foot rest.

For advice on your rights, if you feel you have been discriminated against at work visit:

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